It is the worst incident of its kind anywhere in the world so far in 2020. Evangelicals in Fuerteventura work hard offering food and shelter as migrant crisis worsens.
A boat carrying 200 migrants and refugees sank off the coast of Senegal, and only 59 were rescued, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said.
The boat had left Mbour but caught fire and capsized near St. Louis. Emergency forces of Senegal and Spain, as well as fishing boats in the region, helped rescue some survivors, and found the bodies of over 20 people.
It is the worst incident of this kind so far in 2020.
The aim was to reach the Canary Islands (Spain), in a Western African route to Europe that has grown “significantly” since 2018, the IOM said. Only in September, 13 boats departed with 663 people on board. Incidences were reported in one fourth of these trips.
IOM’s representative in Senegal called for “unity between governments, partners and the international community to dismantle trafficking and smuggling networks that take advantage of desperate youth”.
So far this year, Spain has recorded over 11,000 arrivals only in the Canary Islands, more than four times the figures of the same period in 2019. According to UN dada, the situation was only worse in 2006, with the known as “cayuco” crisis.
Evangelicals in the Canary Islands have been long involved in looking for solutions to the migrant crisis. One of the churches, Modern Christian Mission, in the island of Fuerteventura, has been pivotal in offering food and accommodation to dozens of newly arrived migrants. Their task has been praised by the United Nations as well as by local authorities.
MCM’s pastor, Ángel Manuel Hernández, has repeatedly denounced “a situation of extreme need” of these migrants, the “abandonment” they suffer, and the need to find resources to react to the humanitarian crisis.
Watch an in-depth TV report about the work of the MCM in welcoming migrants here (Spanish).